Tell most Singaporeans that you intend to go into the fashion industry, and you’re likely to receive blank stares and half-hearted encouragement in return. It’s still a common belief, after all, that careers in fashion won’t pay the bills or feed a family. But the tide is turning, and with digital platforms offering more avenues for Singaporeans to break into the industry, more are beginning to find success in the fashion scene.
And one player in the online shopping/fashion world is set to make it even easier for aspiring youths to carve out a career in fashion.
Yesterday, Zalora announced in a press release that they would be offering ZALORA Scholarships to one tertiary student from each of the following countries in the region: Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. The Singapore scholar will receive S$3,000 worth of sponsorship towards their school fees, as well as a paid internship position at Zalora come May 2016.
The internship position is a clear win, but any arts student in Singapore will tell you that S$3,000 is pretty minor compared to the total cost of tuition fees — it might just be enough to sort of cover one semester. Sill, it’s probably best not to look a gift horse in the mouth, I guess.
Beyond simply encouraging young talent to pursue careers in the fashion industry, though, it’s worthwhile to take a look at what Zalora’s scholarship means for the online shopping/fashion industry. Traditionally, bigger, more established luxury brands have been the ones who’ve had both the resources and clout to nurture young talents. The fact that a relatively new player like Zalora is offering scholarships does come as a bit of a surprise.
But think about this from the perspective of today’s digital-obsessed world, and you’ll see why Zalora’s move makes perfect sense, for both themselves and the industry. As Michele Ferrario, Managing Director of the Zalora Group, explained, “We believe that this scholarship is an excellent initiative to attract and nurture passionate young individuals in the area where e-commerce meets fashion…there’s always the scientific aspect behind fashion and design, and especially so for ZALORA as an online fashion retailer because we live and breathe digital.”
So offering scholarships to talented individuals will not only ensure that Zalora has the skilled manpower to take their brand further in the future; it also puts the power to control the future direction of the online shopping/fashion industry in their hands.
And they’re not exactly lacking in the clout department either: earlier this year, Zalora took part in their first ever fashion show during Singapore Fashion Week — a feat few online shopping sites can claim to have achieved.
It might seem like a step backwards for an online platform to go offline — digital is the direction most brands are going these days — but the fact that they can do so suggests that they have a large enough consumer base; one that consists of everyday/casual shoppers, as well as individuals who appreciate fashion on a deeper level. And this means that they’re well on their way to conquering both markets.
So if you think Zalora’s scholarships are merely a good marketing move, think again — your future shopping decisions might well be in the hands of their next scholar.
Applications for the ZALORA Scholarship are open from now till 16 October, 11PM GMT. For application details and to check your eligibility, visit http://www.zalora.sg/scholarship/. For other queries, send your emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.